2020-21 Williams Instructional Fund Recipients

Case study-based group problem solving to enrich learning in Biology

Instructors:  Nicola Barber, Cristin Hulslander

This project will redesign the course problem sets for BI 211 General Biology I: Cells to incorporate structured group work and peer instruction, while using a case study framework to connect the topics covered in this course. Student investment in the class problem sets is key for engaging with the core concepts and learning how to solve the types of problems encountered by biologists. This will help build science students’ skills in learning, problem solving, application and collaboration. The aim is for students to get more out of this course, and build foundational skills and peer networks to take with them throughout their undergraduate careers.

Autobiography as Political Agency

Instructor: Anita Chari

This hybrid online/in-person version of a course entitled, “Autobiography as Political Agency,” will become available to UO students at large, after being taught for the past six years within the Inside-Out prison education program at Oregon State Correctional Institution and Oregon State Penitentiary. The current curriculum developed by Chari brings together political theory, social justice education, creative writing, and relational and somatic practices to teach students how to explore their own autobiography. The hybrid format of this course will allow it to have maximum impact for UO undergraduates. Large classroom settings often create an environment that makes it difficult to present somatic pedagogy, relational work, and social-emotional learning. This hybrid online course will present elements of Chari’s somatic pedagogy to larger groups of students while creating an environment that lends itself to the use of autobiographical reflection in social justice education. The funds will support the development of a series of videos about somatic pedagogy that will be used for this course, and available for collaboration with other interested UO instructors.

Re-invigorating “Reacting to the Past” Curriculum at the UO

Collaborators: Kevin Hatfield, Amy Hughes-Giard, Ian McNeely, Jennifer O’Neal, Brett Rushforth and Gabe Paquette

“Reacting to the Past” (RTTP) is an interdisciplinary, role-playing curriculum and pedagogy. Re-invigorating RTTP at the UO over the next three to five years means embedding RTTP courses into First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs), Academic Residential Communities (ARCs), and the Clark Honors College (CHC). The Williams Council funded the introduction of RTTP to the UO in AY10-11 as a curricular requirement of the College Scholars Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. Faculty from across the disciplines—History, English, Philosophy, Political Science, Romance Languages, German & Scandinavian, Women’s and Gender Studies, and even Biology—offered CAS 101H RTTP sections. The immersive, role-playing games consistently proved to be one of the most engaging and transformational learning environments of the College of Scholars program based on student evaluations. This year’s instructional grant will provide funds to train more faculty in this innovative and engaging pedagogy. 

Project Inclusion: Enhancing undergraduate learning through a neurodiverse collaborative to feature the lived experience of disability

Instructor: Chris Knowles

This project is informed by principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and will enhance the current instructional curriculum for three courses: Introduction to Behavioral Disorders (SPED 432/532), Foundations of Disability (SPED 411/511), and Supporting Students with Low-Incidence Disabilities (SPED 438/538) through the creation of original videos that feature relevant stakeholders in the special education community, created in tandem with an inclusive media team. Each video will be aligned with one or more course content objectives. This project positions Knowles to emphasize the value of inclusion of people with disabilities, enhance course content through an expanded representation of lived experiences in special education, an create sustainable multi-media materials that can be used repeatably each term to enhance course content.

The Student Voice Project

Instructor: Ed Madison

The Student Voice will be a mobile-first digital publication that bridges a significant gap between undergraduate journalism students and high school journalists from diverse backgrounds who often lack mentorship. It establishes a virtual newsroom through weekly video conference sessions linking SOJC journalists and COE undergraduate aspiring educators with participating high school journalists and their faculty advisors across the nation. Journalism engages students in social issues by providing them with project-based opportunities to research, interview, write and create multimedia stories that can broaden their worldview and enlighten audiences. Research indicates that participation in high school journalism contributes to socialization into citizenship, providing students with opportunities to develop skills and experiences that are vital for civic engagement (Schofield & Monserrate, 2011). Civic values begin to take shape at an early age. However, many secondary school students lack direction and support. This project emphasizes underserved communities, and specifically creates opportunities for students of color. UO students benefit from engaging with diverse populations who represent the broad tapestry that encompasses our nation. Much of the student work produced will focus on social justice themes, further broadening participants and their audiences’ perspectives.

Leadership for Social Change: Increasing students relational and systemic understanding of the connections between leadership theory and practice

Instructor: José W. Meléndez

Meléndez will systematize his new teaching approach for Planning, Public Policy and Management 494: Leadership for Change. A year ago, he re-designed the course to engage students with the theoretical debates happening in the field of leadership and show how leadership is applied in a variety of professional settings. As the final requirement for students across the PPPM disciplinary programs, this course is one of the final opportunities to challenge and support future public servants’ understanding of what leadership is and could be. It has two distinct but inter-related tracks designed within: one for foundational theories on leadership and how leadership is perceived and practiced differently depending on the context, the audience, and the person taking on leadership roles; and one that focused on issues of race, power, privilege, and ally-ship. The latter is done through a collaboration with the city of Eugene’s Office of Human Rights & Neighborhood Involvement, by using their Hate & Bias Prevention and Response Toolkit. The course pushes all students to arrive at a deeper understanding of the structural forces at work that support or limit certain kinds of individuals from qualifying as leaders or enacting leadership. Through his redesign, Meléndez offers a pedagogy that responds to current events in a systemic and research-based approach, while creating a learning environment that supports his students to be ethical, reflective, curious, critical, and life-long learners in both their professional and personal lives.

Teaching the Eugene Lesbian Oral History Project

Instructor: Judith Raiskin

The Eugene Lesbian Oral History Project is a community-based, digital humanities project that preserves and shares the unique history of the lesbian community in Eugene, OR and its impact on Oregon culture and politics. Raiskin has created a collection of 84 video oral histories now housed in UO Special Collections and Archives and now she will make the contents accessible to students, useful for classroom lectures, and available for student research. She will create a website and an interactive digital exhibit to use this material in her classes as well as in classes across campus. With these tools, students will have the experience of working with original sources, an opportunity mostly reserved for students in small upper-division seminars. Inclusive teaching opportunities are at the core of this project since the website and exhibit allow students to watch and listen to “real people” discuss LGBTQ history and topics. 

Teaching for Climate Activism

Instructor: Sarah Stapleton

This new course will survey current research and synthesize best practices for teaching about climate change. The course will draw from research across the fields of climate change education and communication as well as current curricula, books, and materials for communicating about climate change. The target audience is future teachers and others wanting to educate effectively about the impending global crisis. Moreover, the course is titled, “Teaching for Climate Activism,” to signal its political nature; the intent is not merely to help students know how to teach the science of climate change but to explore how to best teach climate change in a way that motivates others for climate action. To build in agency and activism for students in the course, the fourth credit hour of the course will involve students in creating and facilitating a multi-session workshop for local K-12 teachers on teaching about climate change.